May Is National Bike Month
168 Kansas children ages 0-14 die or are injured as a result of bike crashes in traffic each year.
Of these, nearly half (45 percent) have traumatic brain injuries.
Properly fitted bike helmets could reduce the risk of bike-related brain injuries by 88 percent; however, only 15 to 25 percent of cyclists ages 14 and under usually wear a helmet.
"A bike helmet is essential safety gear. Safe Kids Kansas is proud to have led the way in providing bike helmets to Kansas children in the last 10 years. Since the inception of our Safe Kids Cycle Smart program, over 100,000 low-cost and free bike helmets have been distributed as a part of local bike safety programs throughout the state," says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. "The program has been credited with 10 lives saved." If your community group would like to provide helmets as part of a bike safety program, please contact Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-0351.
Motor vehicles are involved in approximately 90 percent of fatal bike crashes, and about 60 percent of bike-versus-auto child fatalities occur on residential streets. "Teach kids to obey traffic signs and the rules of the road. Kids should not ride without supervision until they have demonstrated that they know and always follow the rules," says Stegelman.
A helmet should be labeled to indicate that it meets the standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. As long as it's certified and brand new, Stegelman says, "Let kids pick out their own helmets. If they think a helmet looks cool, they'll be more likely to wear it when you're not around."
Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers to: